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 ABBA- ABBA 1975

also Various artists- -Stars Im Zeichen Eines Guten Sterns 1975 German Lp (includes one song by ABBA)

"So bang-a-boome-boomerang
is love,

)

 ABBA-ABBA Released April 1975 Available worldwide on CD

Just look at the back cover- those double exposed shoes, that sexy girl in the olive dress, the cane, Frida's elegant diffidence , Benny & Björn's well acted expressions of annoyance. Who said these people were devoid of style? Well....Ok I'll admit It i have no taste in clothes, so maybe I am not a good judge...

After the success of the "Waterloo" single Abba had a great success with singles between Mid 1974 and mid 1975 but not in every market. It wasn't till the release of the "SOS" single (drawn from this album) that they proved that they were not just a one hit wonder in the critical British market."Mamma Mia" and "I do, I do , I do ,I do" were along with "SOS" among the big worldwide hits on this album. "So Long" , "Rock Me" and "Bang-A Bomerang" were also hits in various places. Six of the songs from this album were hits somewhere (more hits than any other ABBA studio album). ABBA albums were always chock full of possible hit singles, but sometimes the group did not want to risk releasing singles that might not hit the top five,.

That ABBA was starting to be big in Scandinavia, Germany and Australia was not sufficient for ABBA and Stig, they wanted to be big in the UK, North America and even unconventional markets like Eastern Europe and Latin America.
ABBA's main commerical goal was to be the to become the first superstar act
.to emerge from a non-English speaking country to become major pop stars in the trend setting English-speaking markets.

ABBA manager's Stig Anderson's importance thus can not be underestimated-it was his vision,his planning that drove ABBA's unprecedented and all-encompassing commercial breakthrough. Also, Stig's catchy but simple approach to titles & lyrics would allow for ABBA to be easily understandable to the widest possible audience. Later acts would have ABBA to thank for opening the world music markerts to acts from places other than the US and the British Isles. For some reason,Stig Anderson played a heavier role in the lyric writing on this album... he helped with the writing of six lyrics,more than on any other ABBA album...

This, ABBA's third album, despite the presence of three major worldwide hits was not as big of a seller as the later albums in some markerts. The mixed commercial track record is one reason this album often tends to be less well appreciated than the later ABBA albums. As is the case with much of ABBA's pre-1977 work, critics found that the lyrics were not particularly good from a poetical perspective, although the lyrics often seem clever enough as pop song.

Björn and Benny obviously grew as songwriters both lyrically and musically, and their later growth made them, like some critics less enamored of their own early work. Still, there is freshness and sense of fun here that ABBA had a harder time capturing as they got older and more mature . This particular album finds ABBA just as they were rising to a level where they doing commercial pop music better than most of their competitors.

This is the album to get if you like ABBA's more uptempo numbers .This is the ABBA album with the highest concentration of effective rock n roll numbers. While ABBA may have not been totally convincing as a rock act ,one should make concessions for the fact that in 1975, rock and roll bands with female lead singers were not overly prevalent, so whatever attempts ABBA made at rock and roll were certainly to be welcomed by people who like to hear woman sing rock numbers.

At least, five of the songs on the ABBA album had significant elements of rock and roll, "So Long","Intermezzo No 1", " SOS" , "Rock Me", and "Hey Hey Helen". The other songs on the album certainly touch on rock as well. That this album is rock and roll, does make this album more appealing to rock fans than ABBA's later excursions into disco, theatre numbers and adult pop.

In Germany , this album was titled Mamma Mia in one edition.

Some of the 1980's and early 1990's European CD editions of this album rather oddly had five added tracks drawn from the RING RING and WATERLOO albums.

 Recording dates and Musician credits sourced from original CD/album liner notes or from THE COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS by Carl Magnus Palm.

1. Mamma Mia (Andersson-Anderson-Ulvaeus) 3.32 Lead Vocals-Agnetha, Frida & Bjorn Recorded March 1975

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus Guitar-Janne Schaffer Finn Sjoberg,Bjorn Ulvaeus,, Bass-Mike Watson, Drums- Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers, Marimba-Benny Andersson, String arrangement-S.O. Walldoff

(please note its not always clear where Benny is singing backing vocals,so I dont usually list him as a backing vocalist - unless I am sure it is him.)

"Mamma Mia' would be ABBA's second #1 hit in Great Britain,but oddly only a minor hit in the USA. It's a little bubble-gummy perhaps, but still very original sounding, Used of course, as the title track for B&B's 1998 musical,though ironically the now hated Stig Anderson seems to have been at least partly responsible for the lyric. Michael Tretow is quoted in the Palm book " as viewing Mamma Mia as the " the whole idea of ABBA in one track".

2. Hey, Hey Helen (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.16 Lead Vocals-Agnetha & Frida Recorded September 1974

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Guitar-Janne Schaffer ,Bjorn Ulvaeus, , Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson Drums-,Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson,

"Hey Hey Helen" is one of the great unsung early ABBA songs. But for some reason Björn and Benny themselves never cared for it. Which is odd because the lyrics are better than the usual nonsense that pervaded many of their early singles. Bjorn and Benny have both said the he do not think that ABBA was effective as a rock group, and in two interviews Benny has said that "HHH " was something they should have left unrecorded. Bjorn thought the drum sound sounded very tame. But they miss the point-ABBA often failed as rock act because the lyrics were so awkward sounding,...1970's rock music always took itself very seriously,and the pre- 1977 ABBA did not take there lyrics seriously..

Mercifully , HHH has a darker lyric with feminist overtones that are thankfully not diluted since Björn refrained from singing along. Also, somebody put away the key to the music hall piano so that Benny wouldn't make the song too cheerful. Benny instead provides some solid clavinet fills. (The clavinet is a keyboard popularized by Stevie Wonder

3. Tropical Loveland (Andersson-Anderson-Ulvaeus) 3:05 Lead Vocals-Frida Recorded February 1975

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus,Guitar,Bjorn Ulvaeus, Lasse Wellander, Bass- Mike Watson, Drums- Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson,

"Tropical Loveland' has stupid lyrics that were poorly pronounced by Frida, but the song is redeemed by some sublime but subtle backing vocals and organ work. Listen closely to this song on headphones.( ABBA harmonies from Day One were always incredibly inventive and many of the harmonies are buried so deeply in the mix that you have to hunt them down with your ears!)

4. SOS (Andersson-Anderson-Ulvaeus) 3.22 Lead Vocals-Agnetha Recorded August 1974

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Guitar-Janne Schaffer Bjorn Ulvaeus, Lasse Wellander, Bass- Mike Watson, Drums-Ola Brunkert Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson,

.SOS' melds a keyboard backed verse with a guitar driven chorus. Agnetha's angst-tormented lead vocal is punctuated by some charming accented pronunciations of English words that tend to emphasize how European this record is. The Who's Pete Townsend has said that he thinks this is great rock record. It is certainly one of ABBA's most original sounding singles, and probably one of their five best recordings...

5. Man In The Middle (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.00 Lead Vocals-Björn' Recorded August 1974

Vocals-Bjorn Ulvaeus-Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Guitar-Janne Schaffer Finn Sjoberg,Bjorn Ulvaeus, Lasse Wellander, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Mike Watson, Drums-Ola Brunkert, Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers, Clavinet-Benny Andersson, Tenor Sax-Ulf Andersson, Sax arrangement-Bjorn J:son Lindh

I may be alone in thinking that there is absolutely nothing wrong with Björn's "Man In The Middle" . I enjoyed the horn work on it . and I find that the lyrics are not stupid. For some reason I view the song as a unconscious dig at the group manager ,Stig Anderson. (Stig was literally the man in the middle in Abba songwriting credits).

6. Bang-A-Boomerang (Andersson-Anderson-Ulvaeus) 2.50 Agnetha & Frida Recorded January 1975

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Guitar-Janne Schaffer,Bjorn Ulvaeus, , Bass- Mike Watson, Drums- Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson,

"Bang-A-Boomerang" like "Tropical Loveland" are the kind of songs that have the kind of lyrics that seem provoke disdain amongst ABBA's critics. Yet, "BAB " actually has a fairly clever title and was illustrated by one of the cheeriest videos ABBA ever made. ( For once the ABBA smiles look sincere!).

7. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do; (Andersson-Anderson-Ulvaeus) 3.15 Lead Vocals -Agnetha & Frida Recorded January 1975

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Guitar-Janne Schaffer Finn Sjoberg,Bjorn Ulvaeus, Lasse Wellander, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Mike Watson, Drums-Ola Brunkert, Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson, Alto Sax-Ulf Andersson

I doX5 " had a prominent placing in the weddings scenes of the Australian movie "Muriel's Wedding" and "Mamma Mia". Still, "I do X5 " is probably one of the least loved of ABBA hits. The song is supposed to be based either on European shlagers or 1950's Pat Boone records it depends on who you talk to....The song is also notable for the use of soprano saxophone, Early ABBA recordings had a fair amount of horn work on them....

8. Rock Me Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.03 Lead Vocals-Björn Recorded October 1974

Vocals-,Bjorn Ulvaeus,Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Benny Andersson,Guitar Finn Sjoberg,Bjorn Ulvaeus, Lasse Wellander, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Drums Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson,

"Rock Me' is ,if very fun,if not totally convincing rocker, with a run-of -the mill-lyric. On "Rock Me" Björn was let into the vocal booth,and Benny got to throw in the music hall piano. Admittedly, one has to give Björn a lot of credit for the way he managed to stretch his voice into such a growl on "Rock Me ".For a long time ,I had assumed it was Benny singing on "Rock Me " because the lead vocals are so unlike Björn's other lead vocals. (ALSO since at the time I had no idea what Benny's vocals were supposed to sound like) In 1994 the box set lets us hear how our diva ,Agnetha would sing this song-and frankly Bjorn sings it as well or better than the great diva.

9. Intermezzo no. 1; (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.48 Instrumental featuring Benny Andersson- Recorded October 1974

Guitar- Finn Sjoberg,Bjorn Ulvaeus, Lasse Wellander, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, , Drums, Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson, , String & Horn arrangement-Bjorn J:son Lindh

Like "SOS" , "Intermezzo No 1" , is a highly original classical/ rock fusions. " Intermezzo" was ABBA's first instrumental record -and was most certainly not a filler track.

10. I've Been Waiting For You; (Andersson-Anderson-Ulvaeus) 3.39 Lead Vocal-Agnetha ----Recorded September 1974

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad,Bjorn Ulvaeus Guitar-Janne Schaffer ,Finn Sjoberg,Bjorn Ulvaeus, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Drums- Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson,

Agnetha got another prime vocal opportunity on "I've Been Waiting For You", just catch her hitting the high notes on the word "ceiling". (I also find the guitar buried in the mix at the end interesting). This is rare early ABBA song that has a lyrics that hold up well and Agnetha sings the words convincingly. This live version of this song found in ABBA-The movie is also quite good.

11. So Long (Andersson-Ulvaeus) 3.06 Lead Vocals-Agnetha & Frida Recorded August 1974

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus , Guitar-Janne Schaffer Finn Sjoberg,Bjorn Ulvaeus, Lasse Wellander, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Mike Watson, Drums-Ola Brunkert, Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson,Trumpet-Bruno Glenmark

The album's closer -the glam rocker,"So Long' was not a very good song,but nor was it really so bad, it was the first single from the album in a few territories. One of the signs of a great group is that they often have lesser hits in reserve. The casual fan will say"Oh, I didn't know they did that "Six of the songs from this album were hits somewhere (more hits than any other ABBA studio album). ABBA albums were always chock full of possible hit singles.

BONUS TRACK ON CD VERSION

12. Crazy World (Andersson-Ulvaeus) Lead Vocal- Bjorn Recorded October 1974, Summer 1976

,Bjorn Ulvaeus,Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad,Benny Andersson, Guitar- Finn Sjoberg,Bjorn Ulvaeus, Lasse Wellander, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, , Drums, Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson,

"Crazy World" is a Bjorn lead vocal with a stupid lyric but a stirring section on the "Baby why you did you do it"section'. It was left in the can in 1974 but reworked so as to become a B-side in 1977.

13. Medley: Pick A Bale Of Cotton/On Top Of Old Smokey/Midnight Special ((Traditional arr. Andersson-Ulvaeus) Recorded May 1975, August 1978

Lead vocals Agnetha, Frida, Bjorn and Benny

Vocals-Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson Guitar-Finn Sjoberg,Bjorn Ulvaeus, Bass-Rutger Gunnarsson, Mike Watson, Drums-Roger Palm, Keyboards& Synthesizers-Benny Andersson,

Medley' was a medley of three folk songs in the Public domain that was recorded right after the ABBA album was released for use on an German charity album..(Stars Im Zeichen Eines Guten Sterns ) The songs were chosen to reflect ABBA's roots although it's doubtful Agnetha or Frida would ever have performed this songs before. "Medley" would also be dug up to become the B-side of "Summer Night City"in 1978. The medley does not really work- "Pick and Bale of Cotton" and Midnight Special" are recorded in a bizarre and inappropriate Stars on 45 pop /rock style and "On Top Of OLD Smokey" is dreary ballad edited in between the two pop numbers. Still ABBA's version of "Midnight Special" is certainly original and fun to listen.

OTHER TRACKS RECORDED

At least three other tracks were recorded for but not released on the original ABBA album.Three songs :("Baby' (an early version of "Rock Me') with an Agnetha lead vocal ,"Here Comes Rubie Jamie'(-a surprisingly spontaneous duet between Benny & Frida) and "Rikki Rock'n Roller' were finally released as part of "ABBA Undeleted ' on the Box Set.

ABBA-ABBA (Remastered version) 2001 CD and limited edition Digipak


Includes new liner notes by Carl Magnus Palm and two bonus tracks. This album clearly has the two worst bonus tracks (artistically speaking) of the eight studio albums. ""Crazy World," and "Medley" don't do much for ABBA's reputation.

Some of the prior CD editions of this album rather oddly had five added tracks drawn from the RING RING and WATERLOO albums, but with this version that is no longer is the case.

1. Mamma Mia; 2. Hey, Hey Helen; 3. Tropical Loveland; 4. SOS; 5. Man In The Middle; 6. Bang-A-Boomerang; 7. I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do; 8. Rock Me; 9. Intermezzo no. 1; 10. I've Been Waiting For You; 11. So Long;

extra tracks: 12. Crazy World; 13. Medley: Pick A Bale Of Cotton/On Top Of Old Smokey/Midnight Special (new bonus tracks)

 

 

 The ABBA album's vital statistics  Tracks recorded for ABBA's 1975 studio album.

* Swedish release .-April 1975 #1

* British release- June 1975 #13

* American release -Sept.?1975 #174

* Recorded at : Metronome & Glen Studios

* Recorded Aug 74 - March 75

* Back cover photo taken at Castle Hotel, Stockholm

 

* Producers:Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus

 

MAin SINGLES drawn from ABBA album

So Long/Ive Been Waiting For You

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do/Rock Me

SOS/Man In The Middle

Mamma Mia/Intermezzo No.1

Rock Me/

Fernando(not on ABBA album)/Tropical Loveland

 

 Sessions for the ABBA album Recorded Aug74.-Mar.75

Side One-
Mammia Mia
Hey Hey Helen
Tropical Loveland
SOS
MAn In The Middle
Bang-A Boomerang

-SIDE B-
Rock Me
I do,I do, I do, I do, I do
Intermezzo No 1
Ive Been Waiting For You
So Long

-Non album tracks
Crazy World( 1977 b-side,&box Set)
Here Comes Rubie Jamie(Box set)
Medley (recorded after album released) (charity album,Box Set )
Rikki-Rock n Roller (Box Set)

 


Various artists- -Stars Im Zeichen Eines Guten Sterns Mid to Late 1975 German Lp (includes one song by ABBA). Out of print

This German markert only release features the first release of the later ABBA b-side-"Medley".
The rest of the songs are by other artists.
This album is exceedingly rare , I have never seen it, it is pictured on ELMAR's ABBA SITE,.the best site to view rare ABBA related album covers...

But you can easily get this track on ABBA's box set or on the remastered version of the "ABBA" album.

ABBA recorded a medley of "On top of Old Smokey" (a duet with Smokie Robinson) , "Midnight Special" (a duet with Wolfman Jack) and a early demo version of "My heart Will go On" for this exciting tribute album to Sonny and Cher.

No, in actuality, ABBA recorded a medley

of "Pick a Bale of Cotton", "On top Of Old Smokey, and "The Midnight Special".

They recorded these folk songs partly because they had no new material available and partly because Björn thought it might be interesting to show some of their roots.

This was the only material not written by ABBA to be released by them commercially.
(B&B cowrote songs with Stig, Agnetha,and Sedaka/Cody ,but the only other cover version they did (Stig Anderson's Tividshambo) was released only as a privately issued release.

Interestingly ,all three songs recorded for the "Medley" are in the public domain-meaning that B&B could claim the publishing rights to this particular arrangement.

ABBA's version of "THE MIDNIGHT Special" can only be described as unique!

1. James Last Annie Laurie/Greensleves
2. Lars Berghagen-Aloja Oe La Paloma/Und darn ging ich zu den Madchen
3. ABBA 
Pick A Bale Of Cotton  
    On Top Of Old Smokey  
    Midnight Special 
4. Bata Illic-Auf der Stafe zu Dir/Katjcuschka-Kalinka
5. James Last Danny Boy/Palsir D'Amour/The House of the Rising Sun

1. Freddy-Guantanarmera/LA Golchinna/Cileto Lindo
2. Wencke Myrhre -Triliba -Hozchuctanz/Titshc-Trsch Polka
3. Fischer Chore -Horsh, was kinnit. etc/Hetzt Koomen etc.
4. Karel Gott -Swanee River/When The Saints Go Marching In/Glory, Glory
5. James Last -Wenn Wir heut auseinandergehn

 

 

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